1 Center for Leksikografi, Department of Management - Nobelparken, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Language and Business Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University4 School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University
There is much uncertainty and confusion as to the real differences between prescrip-tive and descriptive dictionaries. In general, the majority of existing accounts can be summarised as follows: Descriptive relates to the empirical basis; accordance between the empirical data and the dictionary is required. Prescriptive relates to the genuine purpose of the dictionary; the dictionary is meant to help with problems concerning text production and will thus affect usage. This asym-metrical understanding would imply prescriptive and descriptive in practice being false contrasts. In this article, a more consistent terminology is suggested which allows for both the function of the dictionary and the relation of the dictionary to the empirical basis.